We stayed in a great little apartment for the weekend, less than 5 minutes walk to Hanover Street (the main street in the North End), and which was clean, tidy and a good size for a couple. This was great, as we did so much in the daytime, we really crashed out in the evenings and watched American TV with a snack from the 7-11!
Boston is known as one of the most walkable cities in the US because it’s so compact. We walked everywhere apart from when we got a train across the river to Harvard University and the Cambridge area. There’s even a path (The Freedom Trail) that winds for a couple of miles through the city – from Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument across the Charles River past many of the historical places of importance. As well as the usual city streets, there were some cobbled streets hiding Irish pubs (We visited one on our first night and met a thoroughly friendly and utterly inebriated Irish-American called Jack), book shops and cafes.
On our way home we visited Mike’s Pastry, which is one of a couple well renowned bakeries on Hanover Street. I would have loved to have got some pictures of inside the bakery but it was rammed – obviously the thing to do on a Friday night is pick up some cannoli to take home after dinner!
We did a walking tour starting from Boston Common on our first full day, which was great to start with, but it became apparent that this was a tour for people who really wanted to spend a whole day doing a walking tour and getting into the nitty-gritty details – that wasn’t quite what we were after, seeing as we only had a couple of full days in Boston. So after the first hour and a half, we walked on as we wanted to visit inside a few of the buildings on the route.
We visited the Old South Meeting House which was primarily a Puritan place of workship, but which also housed the debate on the tea-tax which soon after led to the infamous Boston Tea Party.
We also visited the Old State House which was the first home of the federal government of Massachusetts. We timed it just right to hear a talk about the history of the building and there were two exhibitions on the Boston Tea Party and also the role that the building played in the American Revolution. We would hear more about the Boston Tea Party at the end of our trip, but we continued on walking along the path, through the city and onto Bunker Hill. We then walked down to the Charlestown Harbour and caught the ferry back to the North End (although we did manage to get somehow spectacularly lost and headed further into Charlestown before we found the harbour!)
In the evening, we really fancied some Chinese food, so we went into Chinatown (which isn’t much more than a couple of streets of restaurants and medicine shops). We found Peach Farm (recommended in our DK guide book) to be one of the best Chinese meals we have ever eaten. Even at 6pm it was rammed but we arrived just in time to get a table without a wait. It was obviously a popular place as it was filled with chinese people (which I always take as a good sign – they obviously know the best places to eat!). In other Chinese restaurants I have been in they have all had dim lighting but Peach Farm felt much more like a cafe, the atmosphere was buzzing. And one of the best things about the restaurant was the fish tank in the window which housed all of the fish and seafood. Every so often a chef would come through into the restaurant, plunge his hand into the water and pull out whatever item was on his next order!
We thought a nice Saturday evening activity would be to go to the cinema – we saw Birdman, which was a new release there at the time, though it’s not out in the UK until the 2nd January 2015 (see the trailer here).
Come back tomorrow to see what else we got up to in Boston!